17 July 2013

Basque mahats 'grape' (updated)

Basque mahats 'grape' derives from an earlier *baka-tś related to Latin bāca 'berry'1, with nasalization of the initial labial and lenition *-k- > -h- as a consequence of Martinet's Law, by which Paleo-Basque fortis (i.e. voiceless) stops became h or zero (mostly at word-initial but in the case of the velar stop also medially)2. The second member of the compound is a phytonym suffix *-ts found in other words such as e.g. isats 'broom'.

The Latin word has no IE etymology, but Boutkan-Kossmann have proposed a link to Berber *bqā 'blackberry, mulberry'3. In my opinion, this would be a Wanderwort also found in Kartvelian *maqˀw-/*muqˀw- 'blackberry' (Georgian maqˀv-al-, Megrel muʔ-, Svan muqˀw, Laz muqˀ-)4 and possibly also Burushaski *maɣar- 'unripe mulberry', Lezghian *niwqˀ:a(j) and Lak qˀul-nuqˀi 'strawberry'. 
1 There's also Hispanic Latin bacca 'wine' (Varron). Also Galician-Portuguese bago 'grape' (also found in parts of Leonese) derive from an unattested masculine variant.
2 Unfortunately, academic Vascologists think the only source of -h- can be a nasal *-n- (Mitxelena's Law), so they reconstruct a protoform *banatś. See R.L.Trask (2008): Etymological Dictionary of Basque (unfinished).
3 D. Boutkan & M. Kossmann (1999): Some Berber Parallels of European Substratum Words, §3.1, in JIES 27, p. 87-100.
4 Borrowed into Akhvakh muqˀ:ali.

16 July 2013

Spanish chocho (slang) 'vulva' (updated)

Due to its phonetic features, Spanish chocho /tʃótʃo/ (slang) 'vulva'1 (with regional variants chocha, chucha) is considered to be of "expressive origin"2 by Spanish linguists. However, to me it's a loanword from Basque txotxo /tʃótʃo/ (B, G) 'penis' (child word), a variant of tutu (B) 'vulva', (L) 'spout (of a jar)', (Bazt, L), ttuttu /cucu/ (Bazt, L) 'feeding bottle'3


This etymology refers to the labia ('lips' in Latin), and thus I'd link the above words to Germanic *tut- 'to project' (Dutch tuit ‘spout, nozzle’, Middle Dutch tute ‘nipple, pap’, Middle Low German tute ‘horn; funnel’), Kartvelian (Georgian) čˀˀ- 'peak, tip, spout (of a jug)', East Caucasian *t(t)ʃot(t)ʃV 'tip, spout' (Chechen cˀuzam 'spout (of a tea-pot, jug)', Lezghian cˀucˀ 'spout (of a tea-pot), Kryz cˀɨcˀ 'clitoris; ring-stone'), and Tungusic *tʃitʃu- 'penis, spout (of a tea-pot)'.
1 The homonymous chocho 'white lupin' is a loanword from Mozarabic śóś < Latin salsu- 'salted'. See F. Corriente (2003): Diccionario de arabismos y voces afines en iberorromance, p. 287. 
2 It must be remarked that expressiveness (a goal which can be achieved by mimicking children language, as in e.g. expressive palatalization, extensively used in Basque for conveying an affective or diminutive meaning) doesn't necessarily implies a phonosymbolic (i.e. onomatopoeic) origin.
3 There's also the homonymous tutu, ttuttu 'tube, pipe; horn, bugle', conflated by Bengtson.